Head and neck cancer is challenging to treat, but surgeons now have more effective treatment options because of recent advances in medical technology. Previously, surgeons could only remove certain head and neck tumors by cutting through the neck or opening the jaw which had a lot of side effects.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak, a leading surgical oncologist in India, is an expert in this procedure and says “These highly morbid operations reported poor functional outcomes and an increased risk of complications than the technologically advanced, transoral robotic surgery (TORS).”
He specializes in minimally invasive surgeries, including laparoscopic and robotics.
He is world-renowned for his advanced surgical skills and caters to patients from all over the globe. He is the Founder and Chief of Surgical Oncology at MACS Clinic, Director of Surgical Oncology, and Professor and HOD of Minimal Access Surgical Oncology at Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore.
What is TORS?
Transoral robotic surgery is a sophisticated, minimally invasive procedure that involves passing a number of small robotic instruments through the mouth to reach and resect a tumor. It's most typically used to treat throat malignancies, especially tonsil and back of the tongue tumors.
TORS is a suitable treatment option for head and neck malignancies since it is less invasive and can reduce the need for subsequent treatments. Patients who choose TORS frequently require less radiation, and some can even avoid radiation and chemotherapy entirely.
However, as efficient as TORS is, you must know about this procedure to be prepared for the best potential outcome.
Which cancers can be treated by TORS?
TORS is used to treat a variety of head and neck tumors, including:
- Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
- Hypopharyngeal cancer (throat cancer that affects the lower section of the throat)
- Oropharyngeal cancer (cancer that affects the base of the tongue, back of the throat, or tonsil)
TORS is also used to treat non-cancerous disorders such as:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Lingual tonsillitis
Further, TORS can be performed by a surgeon who has completed robotic-assisted surgery training and has performed many surgeries to become an expert in it.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak, a surgical oncologist in India, runs a training program for Fellowship in Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgical Oncology.
Why is TORS a much-preferred option for head and neck cancer treatment?
Complications are less likely with efficient operations. TORS enables this by providing:
Better visualization: The camera delivers magnified, high-definition pictures of the operating area, allowing better visualization. It also offers 3D capabilities of the diseased area.
Higher precision: The motions of the robotic arm are more precise than those of a human hand. The arms revolve in ways that are impossible to do otherwise in the tiny regions of your mouth.
Quicker procedure: An expert surgeon can perform your surgery fast and efficiently. The surrounding tissues are less traumatized when the surgical region is accessed through the mouth.
What are the advantages of using TORS?
The following are some of the advantages:
- Reducing the likelihood of a tracheostomy, wherein the surgeon inserts a breathing tube through an incision.
- Less pain
- Lesser loss of blood
- Minimal chances of long-term speech or swallowing difficulties
- Faster return to everyday activities
- Hospital stays are shorter
What are the drawbacks of TORS?
Transoral robotic surgery has some drawbacks, including:
- Approved for limited conditions
- Not suitable for all patients
If you have any of the following, you may not be eligible for TORS:
- Advanced cancer
- Airway difficulties
- Limited access due to a small mouth or other associated factors
What to expect after surgery?
You will be given at-home care instructions that are tailored to your specific need. They generally include:
- Take it easy for a few weeks
- Take medication as prescribed by your surgeon
- Eat food that digests easily
- Look out for signs of infection or bleeding
When do I need to contact my surgeon after TORS?
You will have to visit your surgeon for follow-ups to monitor your recovery. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, contact your surgeon ASAP:
- Abnormal swelling
- Difficulty in swallowing and breathing
- Vomiting and nausea
TORS is a remarkable advancement for head and neck cancer patients, as it has changed how these cancers are treated. Patients recover faster and more completely since it is minimally invasive and can eliminate the need for additional therapy.
To find out if you are eligible for TORS, you can book an appointment with experts who will assess your reports. You could do this at MACS Clinics, Jayanagar, Bangalore.